(Horned?) Giant, Cove Stone II - (November 2022)

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This complex region on the west face of Cove Stone II contains a remarkable secret. The sarsen here has been carved to show both a hare and a very large left profiled face. This pair of carvings are described by Professor Meaden on page 128 of his 2016 "Drombeg" book. I take the liberty of summarising him - he describes the human head as facing the direction of midwinter sunset. Illumination by the moving sun facilitaties its appearance when the bulging eyeball is greatly enhanced by the sunshine. As the observer moves clockwise through 90 degrees the head transfigures into a hare.

My own photograph on this page shows a similar image to that in the Professor's book, although my image is lit differently which in turn accentuates features slightly differently.  My notes below are entirely my own opinions.

(By the way you can see a clearer photograph of the Cove Stone II hare carving by clicking here).



For what its worth my opinion is that the human face may well have horns and so appears to me to either represent a deity or a shaman wearing a headress. The juxtaposition (on the same sarsen elevation) of a horned humanoid figure with the depiction of a hare stikes me as particularly significant because it is somewhat replicated nearby, on Cove Stone I. There one elevation displays a horned humanoid (visible here) and the other a carving of a hare (visible here).  Although the Cove Stone I figures are set apart they may well refer to the same ceremony/myth as their counterparts on Cove Stone II. 

Actually being in the field studying the human face on Cove Stone II requires you to look at the western side of the sarsen edge on, from the south. You find yourself moving back and forth to find the ideal spot to "activate" the sculpture. I found the experience oddly reminiscent of viewing something else in my past. Then I placed it, I remembered crouching and bobbing about in the National Gallery to see the extraordinary skull image in Hans Holbein's famous painting "The Ambassadors". The obliquely viewed skull there is obvious, whereas the Cove Stone II face above was designed be be viewed only by the initiated.

I suspect there may be a third face in this group, when viewing the hare area from the north-west a possible right profiled head wearing a hood appears (click here to view).




Image copyright David Baldwin Night Photography